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    Residue’s Role in Soil Health – Video

    Corn residue in conservation tillage corn-cotton system. Photo: Jourdan Bell, Texas AgriLife Extension

    In this video, K-State Research and Extension agronomist Peter Tomlinson demonstrates the impact of rain on four types of soil surfaces:

    • A field tilled multiple times with no residue at the surface.
    • A field tilled, but containing residue on the surface.
    • A no-till field with residue on the surface.
    • A field with vegetation growing at the surface.

    The test shows that the field with vegetation allows less runoff because water is filtered in that system. On the other hand, there is more runoff in the field tilled multiple times with no residue at the surface.

    “Rain drops are like a fist on that surface,” Tomlinson said. “They’ve got energy. They’re pounding the soil surface. If we don’t have residue to absorb the energy from that rain drop, the soil surface is absorbing all that energy.”

    The result is that minerals and organic matter loosen and plug pores in the soil that water could occupy. “That surface seals out (water) and our crops have a harder time getting out of the ground.”




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